The Accidental Pie

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Peach Raspberry Strawberry Pie

 

I had to share this wonderful accident with somebody!  I had some fresh peaches and had intended to make an upside down peach and lavendar cake.

One evening I had some last minute guests and decided to pull out some of my fresh picked raspberries and strawberries to share. I accidentally forgot the remaining berries on the counter, and I ended up defrosting too many. I had 4 ripe peaches and a a few pints each of raspberries and strawberries, so I made a pie.

I’m not kidding when I say, this is a winner! The flavors are wonderful together, and even though my top crusted kind of exploded, it didn’t effect the taste at all. Everybody who tried it said they really loved it.

Every bite tastes like summer!

Angelnina’s Peach, Raspberry, and Strawberry Pie4 fresh and ripe peaches, sliced

1 pint whole strawberries

1 1/2 cups raspberries

Mix fruit together gently with 2 Tbsp lemon juice

Stir together 3/4 cup sugar, 3 heaping tablespoons of cornstarch, 1/2 or 3/4 teaspsoon cinnamon

Add it to the fruit and gently fold it all together.

Using a double pie crust, line the pie pan with one crust, poke a few holes with fork, add fruit mixture.

Dot top of fruit with a couple tablespoons of butter.

Cover with top crust and seal crusts together. Paint top with melted butter and sprinkle sugar and cinnamon generously over the top of the crust.

Bake at 375 for approx. 40-50 minutes (check to make sure it doesn’t burn crust–cover edge crust with foil if it browns too fast. Serve w/ vanilla ice cream!

NOTE: Make sure you cut sufficient venting in top crust, my heart of dough stopped up the vent and caused it to explode a bit 🙂

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All You Need is Love

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Grapevines

Mark and I spent an afternoon at the beach this weekend.  While relaxing to the sound of seagulls and waves lapping on the shore, I was reading Wayne Dyer’s book, The Power of Intention.   Dyer gives us a list of “Seven Steps for Overcoming Ego’s Hold On You”. 

1.  Stop Being Offended

2.  Let Go of your Need to Win

3.  Let Go of your Need to be Right

4.  Let go of your Need to be Superior

5.  Let Go of your Need to have More

6.  Let Go of identifying yourself on the basis of your achievments.

7.  Let Go of your Reputation

As I read the list and his brief explanations of each step, I smiled in agreement.

Over the years, I’ve discovered I am the master of my own happiness and my own misery.  This is a powerful discovery because it tells me I am never a victim.  It also means I have to take responsibility for my choices and cannot blame others for my perceived problems.

 

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Homemade Italian Sausage

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 Cooking is my passion.  I cook and I eat, and I’m happy with some dishes and not so happy with others.  Italian food is my favorite.   When I eat Italian food it takes me back to when I was a little girl, visiting my grandparents and my great grandparents in upstate New York.  Their homes were filled with laughter and animated people–always joking and hugging and kissing.  People I hardly knew were hugging me and kissing me hello.  The affection my family showed pulled me in and made me feel wanted, welcome, and part of the group.  It was a very different experience from the travels I’d made back and forth across the United States.  I found people to be more cliquish when I entered a new school in the western or southern regions of the country.  Back home in New York, I would be more welcomed by both family and kids at school who were mostly of Italian or Irish descent.  Of course, it was a small town, and many people knew the families.

When spending time with my Italian family, one thing remained consistent–great food!  As I write this I can smell the foods cooking as I entered my great grandmother’s home.  Pulling into the driveway and running past all the kittens gathered at the front porch, opening the door into the dining area, seeing the table with the handmade crocheted cloth, her hen cookie jar filled with cookies, the sweet peppers setting on the window sill, and oh, that smell–the transcendent smell of the spaghetti sauce filling the entire house.

It was during my visits to my great grandmother’s home that something connected food and love in my brain.

Last week, I made my own Italian sausage.  After all of the chopping of the pork, pouring on of  the spices, adding my own secret ingredients, allowing the meat to marinate for two days, grinding, and stuffing it into the casings–it was finally time to cook up a little taste.  I dropped a heaping spoonful onto the skillet with a little olive oil and red wine in the pan.  The aroma was familiar.  I cut a chunk of meat off with the side of my fork. I blew on the meat to cool it off.   Mark was staring at me waiting for my response.

“Oh my God”, I whispered, “Oh Mark, it’s perfect.”

Two days earlier, I was alone in my kitchen all afternoon, chopping the pork shoulder into one inch cubes. The sun shone through the windows and I swear I could hear my deceased great grandmother whispering in my ear–something about cooking with love.   I followed a recipe from the book “Cooking with Grace”, but with the help of my great grandmother’s message, I decided to add a few of my own secret ingredients.

I will continue to make my own sausages, making sure to add a little love each and every time!

I wish you could all taste these!

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I scored the grinder at Good Will!  I couldn’t believe it was unopened and unused.

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Homemade Italian Sausage

 

I used natural pork from Central Market on sale for $1.99 lb.  The cost of 6 lbs of natural sausage cost the same as 4 links from the market!

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All I need now are cooked onions, red peppers, and a loaf of Italian bread !

NOTE: This is re-posted from my LJ blog in 2007.

Garden Soup and Italian Semolina Artisan Bread

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Angelnina's Garden Soup

 

Last week I didn’t feel like cooking a big meal, so I threw together a pot of soup.  I made up a recipe using a few things from the garden and my pantry.  I think I’ll call it Angelnina’s Garden Soup.  Sometimes I make a huge batch of marinara sauce and freeze it in individual containers.  I pulled out a pint to use as a base in the soup–I make my marinara pretty darn spicy with crushed red peppers.  I also used 2 qts of chicken stock (If you don’t have any homemade, grab a few boxes at Trader Joes).  In a little olive oil I cooked a little onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes before tossing them in the pot.  I was grabbing things left and right from the garden and pantry: kale, escarole, zucchini, yellow squash, garbanzo beans–everything went right into the pot!  I boiled some pasta and added freshly grated parmesan reggiano . 

As with many soups, it tasted better the next day. 

I served the soup with bread from the book “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes”.  I’ve posted photos of the basic recipe, but a few days ago I baked these two loaves of the Italian Semolina Bread.  I gave one to my son, Sean, but I haven’t heard back from him yet on whether he liked it or not.  Mark and I love it!

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Italian Semolina Artisan Bread

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Barefoot in Seattle “Plum Raspberry Crumble” (Ina Garten’s)

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Plum Rasperry Crumble

I have most of Ina Garten’s cookbooks.  One of my favorites is “Barefoot in Paris”.  I made this recipe for a cooking group I belonged to a few years back.  The tasters raved and I have to admit, there is something about the combination of flavors in this recipe that just screams summer in Seattle!  So, at home I call it my Barefoot in Seattle Crumble

Our good friend, Ket, had his 21st birthday last week.  He is a pastry chef, so he made his own cake.  It was beyound amazing!  I brought a salad made from lettuce and herbs in my garden, and then I threw this crumble together to bring along too.  It was a lovely summer day in our friend’s backyard in Seattle.  They grilled burgers and veggies for Ket’s party.  Good friends make everything more special.

PLUM RASPBERRY CRUMBLE RECIPE HERE

ANGELNINA’S NOTES:  I like mine sweet, so I choose ripe red and purple plums.  If you prefer more of a sour flavor choose less ripe plums.

Ket’s Cake!

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Black Forest

 

If I’m lucky, maybe he’ll share the recipe.  It is TO DIE FOR!

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Mmmmmm

If you’d like to see the steps in prepping the Crumble CLICK HERE Continue reading

Chicken Coop in Stages

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Lucille

 

CLICK HERE to see slide show with stages of chicken coop Mark built.

Some people have asked to see our chicken coop, and I have a made a slide show putting the photos together showing different stages-Just click on the highlighted line above to watch it. 

 The pen is going to be made larger and reinforced this week.  We had to hurry and throw something up to give the chickens a home because they were outgrowing the brooders fast!

Latest chicken news:

Roxy is stilling squawking her head off. 

Still don’t know 100% percent that Sean Jr is a rooster, but I’m leaning that way.  He has some awful perty feathers coming in. 

Mark and I are going to video some chicken ideas and post them here soon.

SPECIAL THANKS to the awesome construction men who saved scraps of materials at the job in order for us to build the coop.  Mark and I thank you, and the “Girls” thank you too!

Strawberry Cobbler–Just like Grandma’s :)

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Strawberry Cobbler

 

 Strawberry Cobbler (Adapted from Strawberry Cobbler II at All Recipes)

 1 cup or 1 ¼ cup sugar (depending on sweet preference)

2 Tbsp cornstarch

¼ cup lemon juice

5 ½ cups fresh sliced strawberries

2 Tbsp butter

Dough

2 cups flour

½ cup packed brown sugar

3 tsp baking powder

1 tsp kosher salt

6 Tbsp butter

1 ½ cups whole milk

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and butter a 2 ½ to 3 qt baking dish.

In a medium saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and strawberries. Stir over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick and hot. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and dot with 2 Tbsp butter.

In bowl combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in 6 Tbsp butter with pastry blender or a few pulses till size of peas. Stir in milk. Mixture should be soft. Place large spoonfuls of dough onto berry mixture.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden. Serve with vanilla ice cream!

 

 

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Cobbler

I can’t say enough about this old fashioned style cobbler.  I adapted a recipe found here because the original recipe didn’t seem to work for a few people.  I believe adding water is not necessary as long as your berries are ripe and juicy.  The dough, however, has that great old fashioned cobbler flavor my Grandma Violet used to make.

I really loved the taste of this one.  I had quite a few “Oh my God” and “Wow!” responses from guests–even from people who aren’t crazy about strawberries. 

Strawberry Fields Forever

Strawberry Fields

 ABOVE: The smile is fake…kneeling on cardboard in a field of strawberries is painful when you’re over 40! 

On, what felt like, the hottest day of summer, Mark and I took a drive into farm country to pick organic strawberries and raspberries.  The farm was amazing, the berries sweet and beautiful.  I don’t believe anything smells as wonderful as a field of fresh berries. 

I used to be more of a raspberry girl, but after this experience, I have to admit my love for the strawberry has threatened my loyal relationship to the raspberry.  It’s okay, I have enough love in my heart for both.

There were a few pickers there ahead of us.  Most of them were wearing Asian conical rice hats.  I had never thought about how perfect those hats work at keeping the sun out of your face.  I took a mental note to search the International District for a rice hat.  For some reason, after we entered the field, everybody left.  We were on this huge farm and had it all to ourselves. 

The weather was a little warmer than we are used to.  The temperatures were in the low 90s—ouch!  We hadn’t planned this trip, it was a last minute decision after visiting fruit stands and not being satisfied with the price of berries at our local produce stands. 

For organic pick-your-own berries I found the price of $1.20 lb pretty reasonable.  We managed to pick 12 pounds of strawberries (a very full flat) and 8 pounds of raspberries.  Needless to say, we were pretty heat exhausted after picking, so we raced home, drank a ton of water, showered, and passed out.  I kept the berries stored in a fridge I keep out in the cottage until we were rested enough to start working with them.

There are numerous strawberry recipes available from numerous sources.  I was a bit overwhelmed with ideas, but I managed to squeeze in some new ideas and recipes before I ran out of strawberries.

If you like waffles, pancakes, scones, and muffins–you’re going to love them with Strawberry Butter.   Strawberry Butter is one of the easiest recipes to prepare.  Yet, the sweetness of the fresh berries and richness of the butter, on a waffle, is over the top!

 

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Strawberry Butter

This is like a “10” on the WOW  scale!

Strawberry Butter

1 pint fresh strawberries

1/2 lb butter, room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar

Beat butter and sugar together till smooth and well combined. 

Stir in finely chopped strawberries. ( I left mine a bit chunky)

Chill in fridge.  Use within a week or freeze in serving small containers, molds, or roll into logs and wrap in plastic and until ready to use. 

You can also chill them on a baking sheet and use a mini cookie cutter and cut out little pats of butter in different shapes.

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Strawberry Syrup

You can’t have the strawberry butter on the waffles without the strawbery syrup!  Most recipes I found called for corn syrup.  I really didn’t want to use corn syrup, so I basically cooked strawberries down with sugar until it was quite bubbly and thick.  You can freeze this syrup as well, and it makes a great sauce for strawberry shortcakes and cheesecakes too.

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Strawberry Butter, Strawberry Freezer jam, and Syrup

 If you’ve made apple butter you know how time consuming it is–the same goes for the canned Strawberry Butter–which is NOT the same thing as the fresh strawberry butter shown in the first photo.  It is simply a more concentrated cooked down strawberry pulp with the juice removed.  If you don’t mind stirring over a hot stove for what seems like forever, go for it!  It tastes great.   Of course nothing beats freezer jam—tastes like fresh berries everytime.  I use Sure-Jell pectin box with recipe inside.

I also discovered a new favorite strawberry dessert which I’ll post next!